If you’re a foodie with a mile-long bucket list of dishes to try from the world’s best restaurants, you’re not alone. And healthier versions everyone can enjoy, no matter where you are, are most welcome. Skyler Bouchard, a Food Network host and creator of the popular Instagram account @diningwithskyler, has been sharing inspiring recreations of famous foods. These healthy copycat restaurant recipes are perfection.
A big fan of dining out, Bouchard’s #SkinnySwap series takes “fattier, unhealthy, and non-nutritious dishes” and comes up with a new recipe using wholesome ingredients. And some of the best ones just so happen to be vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.
“I don’t focus on low-calorie, low-carb, or any other diet fads. Instead, I focus on creating recipes that have no added BS. I know I don’t want chemicals in my food because they add no nutritional value and can harm my body, and that’s why I started creating these recipes. You can enjoy all foods and you should never have to restrict yourself,” Bouchard says. “I don’t want the word ‘skinny’ to be misconstrued and for people to think I created this series to lose weight or diet. I don’t promote dieting. What I do promote is feeling the best in my body and creating nutritious versions of all the restaurant dishes I get to try.”
Skyler Bouchard’s copycat restaurant recipes
Inspiration: Matcha Lava at Spot Dessert Bar, New York City
Gluten-free, vegetarian; can be made vegan with egg substitute and honey replacement
What Skyler says: You may not think black beans can be attractive or sweet, but this dish proves both of those theories wrong. These matcha molten black bean brownies are seductive and full of fiber (sexy, I know!). Black bean brownies have been a thing for a while, but I wanted to deck these out with a little extra dark chocolate drizzle and some matcha powder to really enhance the flavor. I chose a black bean base for this recipe because you may as well have some fiber with your dessert, and I swapped out refined sugar for raw unfiltered honey.
Inspiration: French onion soup burger at Le Rivage, New York City
Gluten-free, vegetarian; can be made vegan without goat cheese
What Skyler says: I’m not vegan, nor vegetarian. Not gonna lie—I love a good medium-rare burger. That being said, I don’t think eating ground beef consistently is very good for me. I also like to mix up what I eat. So, that’s where this burger was born. After going to a Le Rivage in New York City and trying their famous French onion soup burger with a ground beef patty, French onion soup, and creamy gruyère cheese, I decided to make a lighter option that was also satisfying and vegetarian-friendly.
First, we swapped out the ground beef patty for an amazing mushroom, onion, and quinoa burger. When I tell you that these patties look and taste like meat, I’m 100 percent serious. We combined raw portobello mushrooms, sautéed onions, herbs, and garlic in a food processor and added quinoa and flax seeds to bulk up the consistency. The onions essentially made up an onion soup that we incorporated into the patty. In addition to the patty, we topped the burger with more sautéed onions, some goat cheese for creaminess, and potato medallions for buns (and as a fry substitute, too). This may sound complex, but it was very easy and I highly recommend making it.
Inspiration: Cake truffles at Milk Bar, New York City
Gluten-free and vegan with honey replacement
What Skyler says: Guess what’s hiding in these balls of rainbow? Chickpeas. Yes, chickpeas. This recipe took some extreme playing around. Lots of vegan recipes call for coconut oil, and I wanted to steer clear of any coconut products because I find they completely change the flavor. Instead, we first created a vegan sheet cake made with a chickpea and almond flour base. We also swapped refined sugar for raw, unfiltered honey (you can also use stevia to maintain a whiter color, which we tried as well). After baking the cake, we used cocoa butter to hold the cake balls together like a frosting and coated them in almond flour and vegan sprinkles. And voilà, Milk Bar cake truffles for gluten-free vegans.
Inspiration: Gnocchi at Gnoccheria by Luzzo’s, New York City
Gluten-free and vegan
What Skyler says: To lighten up the typically heartier dish that we all know and love as gnocchi, we decided to take gluten-free, all-purpose flour and combine it with drained, puréed cauliflower. For our pesto, we lightened it up with a spinach and avocado base to create a creamy and nutritious texture, and then we added some basil, olive oil, and salt and pepper. You get your omega-3s from the avocado, iron from the spinach, and a whole laundry list of nutrients from the cauliflower.